NREL: Use public lands to produce energy
Arvizu also told Senate committee members that NREL has determined that enough cellulosic ethanol could be produced to displace 8 percent of U.S. gasoline consumption by using leftover residue materials from logging and milling operations as feedstock. He noted that the percentage doesn't include the harvesting of trees for energy. With the forest destruction caused by pine beetles, there is extensive additional feedstock in the Western U.S., he said.
The director also posed several potential barriers to the development of public lands for renewable energy use. "Unduly burdensome fees and regulations in a leasing program could stifle development of the very clean energy resources that we as a nation are striving to encourage," he said, adding that the unique economics of these types of projects must be understood and reflected in future leases. Arvizu also recommended government agencies work together to ensure federal leases for renewable energy development are awarded to renewable energy developers, and to protect against those who would obtain leases only to drive up the cost or block development.